Skip to main content

Insurance giants look for long-term care business

Giant insurance corporations are pushing into long-term care.

As part of its austerity song book, the Ontario government has pretended that there is no need to expand long-term care, complex continuing care, rehabilitative care, and other forms of care.  If any needs aren't met, it can all be solved, this fairy tale goes, by home care -- even while there isn't much of that going around.  

In that, there is opportunity for corporations.  If government won't insure it, they will - and make a nifty profit doing it. 

As noted in an earlier post, demographic change will drive the growth of long term care for the next several decades.  A recent  insurance industry report estimates that "the cost in current dollars, of providing long-term care over this timeframe (the aging of baby-boomers) is almost $1.2 trillion. Current levels of government program and funding support will cover about $595 billion of this total cost. As a result, Canadians currently have an unfunded liability for long-term care of $590 billion."

The insurance industry estimates that Canadians in long-term care facilities will grow from 300,000 to 750,000 over the next 24 years -- 150% growth.   They suggest that 170 new long term care facilities have to be opened each and every year over the next 35 years (6,000 in total).   (The Conference Board has also estimated that long term care  would grow at about the same rate in Ontario -- from 98,000 residents now to 238,000 in 2035.)

That's a lot of business -- and a lot of money.  It will dwarf the current hospital and long term care industries.   

Naturally, the private insurance giants think they should be involved, via private long term care insurance (and likely other private financial products as well).  Government can't do it all, they warn.  

They recommend that "governments in collaboration with key stakeholders develop an awareness campaign to educate Canadians on the responsibility they will have for funding their own long-term care."  Government (and taxpayers) should drum up business for the insurance industry is perhaps the idea.

The report goes on with recommendations that are decidedly privatization friendly: 
  • Any government funding of long-term care should be directed to individuals rather than funding institutions directly.  
  • Private delivery of long-term care should be encouraged, and
  • Governments should not regulate price for private delivery of service  -- to encourage a vibrant private long-term care market in Canada
With government walking away from the care we need, this may well become our reality. Indeed, the long wait lists for publicly funded long-term care and the spotty coverage of home care in Ontario suggest this is already happening.

But does private insurance work for long-term care? More on that later.  


Popular posts from this blog

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.

Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 

No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…

Six more problems with Public Private Partnerships (P3s)

The Auditor General (AG) has again identified issues in her annual reportwhich reflect problems with Ontario health care capacity and privatization.   First, here are six key problems with the maintenance of the 16 privatized P3 ("public private partnership") hospitals in Ontario:
There are long-term ongoing disputes with privatized P3 contractors over the P3 agreements, including about what is covered by the P3  (or “AFP” as the government likes to call them) contract.The hospitals are required to pay higher than reasonable rates tothe P3 contractor for  maintenance work the contractor has deemed to be outside of the P3 contract. Hospitals are almost forced to use P3 contractors to do maintenance work the contractors deem outside of the P3 contract or face the prospect of transferring the risk associated with maintaining the related hospital assets from the private-sector company back to the hospitalP3 companies with poor perf…